Airpocalypse

.. this is what the smog season is called in China. We’re not in China, but even here in Europe clean air is becoming a commodity. A growing number of entrepreneurs are capitalizing on the air pollution crisis by selling bottled air. It’s ridiculous, but people are literally buying into it. Imagine catching clean air in plastic bags on one side of the world and then shipping it to the other.

Talking about creating more (air)pollution. We’re going nuts.

A little less conversation a little more action please!

My last blogpost had a somewhat more philosophical nature, so I decided to get more practical this time around! I’ve received quite a few emails over the last couple of weeks asking me for ‘clean air travel tips. Mainly mothers with children who suffer from asthma who want to treat themselves and their kids to some clean air in order to get (them to feel) healthier and fit again, but also some ‘healthy’ individuals who simply want to escape their (air)polluted cities. I get it.

Clean air is the new gold…

Clean air is the new gold and I happen to sit right on top of it here in the Austrian Alps. I’m not a fan of the bottled-air-business, but let me share some of the goodness with you in the form of three clean air travel tips.

1. Süd Tirol: Schöne Aussicht

photocredits go to my friend Marga

For the second time in 3 years I’ve celebated the December holidays up on a hut in Italy called ‘Schöne Aussicht‘. This translates to ‘beautiful view’ and although the pictures below make any further explanation superfluous I will dedicate a few more words to this wonderful place.

You find the Schutzhütte at 2845 meters so you can be sure to be surrounded by clean, but also thin air. The latter is something to take into account if you are suffering from heavy lung problems. I felt absolutely fine both times around, but considering that I live in the mountains it might be smart to acclimatize a bit before going up to this altitude.

The hut itself is very cozy, the staff is extremely welcoming and the food is beyond good. I’ve been eating vegan for almost 2 years now (read here why) and it’s always a challenge to find something I can eat on mountain huts. Not here! They are perfectly equipped to deal with vegetarians and vegans and serve creative and tasty meals. I’m a big fan of this place.

Another great perk: you’ll also find the highest outdoor sauna (and hottub) in Europe up here!

2. Krimml Waterfalls

This is most likely the best place to go in all of Austria if you really want to do your lungs a favour. You’re not just benefitting from the clean mountain air here, but the waterfalls bring something extra into the equation. Simply breathing the spray of the waterfalls alleviates asthma and allergies.

The fine water fog originating from water thudding from great heights contains a high number of negatively charged ions that move from the respiratory tract to the lungs where they have a cleansing and anti-inflammatory effect. The ions stick to minutely small water drops that are respirable, meaning that they can be inhaled deeply.

Over the course of the last couple of years some research has been conducted and the first results are very promising. A clinical study with 54 children with asthma showed that visiting the Krimml Waterfalls for an hour each day resulted in long-term functional, symptomatic and immunological improvements (in all children). Asthma and allergies not only improved, but there was also a positive impact on stress.

This research has been performed quite recently, but since then the some forms of natural waterfall therapy have been developed and there are about eight hotels for allergy sufferers, an Asthma Camp for children and a bath cure nearby Stuhlfelden.

3. Galtür 

This is one of the best places to go if you want to combine your clean air ‘Kur‘ with a bit of skiing. Galtür became the first official climatic health resort in Tyrol, Austria in 1997.

You find this cute little skitown at the end of the Paznauntal at 1548 meters altitude. The absolute perfect altitude if you ask me. Above 1500 meters dustmites and most other allergens are not present and the air is not too thin either.

Galtür offers a decent amount of slopes, but if you want more: on your way down the Paznauntal you’ll pass the (apres)ski madness in Ischgl. Although I’m a bit appaled by the skiing culture in this town, I have to admit that you can do some of the best skiing in all of Austria here.

If Winter is not your season, there is no reason to despair. Gatür is beautiful in summer aswell. Don’t forget to make your way up to the Koppsee:

You can’t swim in this storage lake, but I can definitely recommend a walk around it.

Three more clean air tips for the road…

You want more? A while ago I shared a few other clean air travel tips. You find them below…

 

Clean air travel tip: the Stubai High Trail

 

Clean air travel tip: ‘Luftkurort’ Igls

Clean air travel tip: Möserer See